Celebrating 125 years of the escalator
The long …
If you added together all the escalators thyssenkrupp has ever installed, you could climb a 500 kilometer high mountain or travel a distance of 1,000 kilometers.
Our longest escalator at 53.68 meters is being installed in the Okruzhnaya metro station in Russia. Europe’s current longest escalator is in the Prague metro, where thyssenkrupp has installed escalators 43.6 meters long.
High up …
The highest place we ever installed an escalator is in the Alps and we fitted it out with anti-slip treads to prevent skiers from falling.
… and at fancy locations
Our most stylish escalator in the eyes of many enthusiasts is the one we installed in the London department store Harrods. With its spectacular Art Nouveau cladding it’s one of our favorites too. We even have installations under water. At Shanghai’s Ocean Aquarium visitors travel through a transparent underwater tunnel on two of our escalators so they can focus all their attention on the underwater world.
We have built escalators for royalty with a “Royal Mode” that allows passengers to start and stop the escalator at the press of a button.
Escalators on the rocks
Some of the escalators we’ve built for hotter regions of the world feature cooling units for the handrails so passengers can hold tight without burning their fingers.
Escalators-to-go and a few other very crazy relatives
We also build mobile escalators for boarding and disembarking aircraft. What’s different about them is that they are carried on board the aircraft for use by their owners at any airport in the world. With their own emergency generators they are completely self-sufficient and don’t need to be connected to the airport power supply system. The first mobile escalators were made by tkE back in 1983 for the ailing Soviet leader Chernenko.
Moving stairways can also be combined with moving walks to make a kind of up-over-up escalator. The longest horizontal centerpiece we’ve installed between escalators is ten meters long and can be found at Antwerp central station.
Escalators with just one balustrade, and therefore just one moving handrail, are permitted in restaurants because staff carrying trays only have one hand free. Pictured here in the Alster-Pavillon in Hamburg.
thyssenkrupp’s first suspended escalators were installed at Westminster Court in London. Mounted on connecting rods attached to the dome of the building, the escalators criss-cross the open space of the atrium.
Our fastest delivery was for a state visit in Riyadh. We had two escalators delivered and in operation within two weeks. Needless to say, the escalators were sent by air freight. At 0.9 m/s, the fastest escalator currently in operation can be found in some metro stations in Prague and Russia.
Precision is key, too
On long escalators the drive chains are subject to extremely close tolerance requirements. Any variances could compromise the safety of the moving step band, with the risk of passengers getting caught or trapped.
The world’s oldest escalator …
The oldest thyssenkrupp escalator was installed by Wimmel&Landgraf in the department store Wertheim in 1906. That makes it four years younger than the world’s oldest escalator, which is in Macy’s in New York City, but unfortunately that’s not one of ours. Congratulations, Otis, nice work!
The early years
Until 1950 all our escalators were fabricated from parts on the job site. After that we made the move into industrial production at our plant in Hamburg. The first escalators left the Hamburg plant in 1951. Nowadays no department store would be complete without an escalator. It’s escalators that turn a multi-story shop into a successful business.
The average service life of an escalator is 20-30 years before it needs modernization or repair. Modernization involves a state-of-the-art upgrade or sometimes an entire new escalator is fitted in the steel support structure. All escalators are tailor-made. There is a standard basic structure, but configurations such as height, width, angle of inclination, speed, motor, or energy efficiency can be varied according to customer requirements.
The global escalator market is experiencing moderate growth – in Europe approx. 5,500 new escalators are installed each year.